The name Wankan is composed of two characters (王冠). The first character is the character “King”. The second character means “Crown”. The name Wankan means "King's Crown."
Wankan belongs to the group of Matsumora and was adopted by Shotokan and Shito-Ryu styles. A great difference exists between both versions.
In standard Japanese, "Wankan" would be pronounced "Ohkan". However, the "Wan" pronunciation has been ported over to Japan from Okinawa's dialect. It is interesting that words such as "Heian" were changed from their Okinawan pronunciation of "Pinan" while this kata's name is still spoken in the Okinawan dialect.
The name of the kata is taken from the first three techniques. Movements 1 & 2, when viewed directly from the front, form the two side diadems of a crown. Look at the posture of the arms performing the Kakiwake Uke. The 3rd movement creates the centerpiece of the crown.
“Wankan” is the shortest kata in Shotokan, only 16 movements. One of the characteristics of this kata is that the hips are very low and very difficult to perform but it is not very popular among Shotokan Karate enthusiasts.
There are two other names given for this kata. One is “Shofu”, and then other is “Hito”. “Shofu” means "Pine Wind" and “Hito” means "Flying Waves". Each of the two words contains a component of Funakoshi's pen name “Shoto” which means "Pine Waves."
“Shofu” can also be pronounced "Matsukaze" (pine tree wind) that is known in some schools of karate.
“Wankan” means: “King's Crown”
It is a kata practiced in Shotokan and Shito-Ryu
It is the shortest kata in Shotokan with only 16 movements
It is the only kata in Shotokan that has one "Kiai"
"Wankan" root : "Tomarite-te" school of kata in Okinawa